Ben Collingwood, president of Wide Bay Motor Complex.
Ben Collingwood, president of Wide Bay Motor Complex.

$30 million motor sports plan given funding lifeline

PLANS for a $30 million motorsport arena near Maryborough are accelerating after years of cutting through red tape.

President Ben Collingwood says a $10,000 council grant will help the Wide Bay Motor Complex committee prepare engineering reports and bring them closer to building a drag strip and other sports tourism drawcards on the site.

Mr Collingwood said the money would help pay for professional services to get engineering reports in order.

"We're basically stepping right back to the beginning and updating our business plan in preparation of lodging our development application," he said.

"The planning continues behind the scenes."

He knows these logistical updates are not as exciting as building new facilities or getting the grounds ready but he said they were essential parts of the lengthy planning process.

Mr Collingwood said he never could have predicted the work, and the government roadblocks, involved in getting the ambitious plan off the ground.

DETAILED DESIGNS: A concept plan of Stage One of the Wide Bay Motor Complex.
DETAILED DESIGNS: A concept plan of Stage One of the Wide Bay Motor Complex.

"If I'd known how big a challenge I'd be taking on, I probably wouldn't have bothered," he said.

"Once you're in, you've got to keep moving."

Coronavirus restriction measures have meant activities at the Maryborough-Cooloola Coast Rd site were on hold, drastically reducing income as well as the ability to hold meetings.

Mr Collingwood said the challenge now was to keep momentum going, especially as all those involved were volunteers with other commitments.

"We're trying to do something that will ideally have full time people working on it," he said.

"It's very hard when all your volunteers fit it around other things.

"When you come up against government departments that put up roadblocks, it does make it hard and we're not isolated in that.

"There is too much red tape and not enough assistance in navigating the process."

Mr Collingwood has been pushing for the $30 million complex upgrade for close to a decade.

He said a drag strip would be the centrepiece of the arena.

There are also plans for a road circuit and jet sprint boat course.